Skip to main content

tv   Religion Ethics Newsweekly  WHUT  December 9, 2012 8:30am-9:00am EST

8:30 am
plus, menorahs and lighting the hanukkah lamps. >> welcome. i'm bob aber nathy. it's good to have you with us. members of congress came together for the annual lighting of the capitol christmas tree, although they were deadlocked on
8:31 am
matters. religious groups advocated for action on the fiscal cliff and other issues. a coalition of religious leaders, law enforcement and business people urged lawmakers to prioritize immigration reform. the group included both liberal and conservative clergy who called for legislation that respects the dignitiy of immigrants and creates a pathway to citizenship and secures the border. >> it's time to secure on you values, values that include, faith and hope and charity. >> jewish groups are divided over israel's plans to construct new settlements in the west bank and east jerusalem. the controversial announcement came a day after the united nations voted last week to recognize palestine as a nonmember state. the union for reformed judaism called is a challenge, but it
8:32 am
denounced the u.n. vote as counter-productive to peace. a prominent group of orthodox rabbis meanwhile voiced its support for israel's decision. in a letter released by the vet c vatican this week, the pope issued new rules for charities that identify themselves as catholic. he instructued such groups to follow it, and they're barred from accepting money from organizations whose work runs counter to work teachings. although the pope did not specify, that could apply to funders that promote birth control. those charities found to violate the new rules can be stripped of their catholic dez natisignatio the local bishop. we have a special report from haiti where we found an american priest and doctor who is helping thousands of victims of earthquakes, hurricanes, hiv,
8:33 am
cholera and not least government bury rock sees. they're succeeds not with a big top down plan but by listening to what the haitians want. >> early each morning in the chapel, the shrouded bodies of infants and one adult on the are counted, the names written down for prayers that follow a daily mass. >> anybody that dies in our arms as they say in our place, then their body is first brought to the chapel so the very next mass we have the prayers for the dead and for their peace and for the transformation of their life for eternity and for the strength and courage of their family. >> the father spends much of his day attacking the infant mortality he sees so literally each morning. he's the founder of one of the largest medical care facilities
8:34 am
for children and many adults in haiti. it's grown by necessity often out of tragedy. he's a member of the community of passion did tates and he beg years ago with what seemed a more straightforward mission, a shelter and school for orphans. today 800 children are housed at several centers. this one taking in the overflow functions out of converted shipping containers. the shelter's young managers themselves grew up here. billie jean is one. he was brought at age 3 to the orphanage. today he works to master english and is in law school. >> my mother was pregnant very early, about 16 years old. my father took off. then my mother couldn't take care of me. she decided to -- she heard
8:35 am
about it, and she decided to put me there. >> his mother visits occasionally he says, but the orphanage is very much his family. >> that's our goal, it to restore the family over one generation to raise the children together so they have memories of their own childhood, restored childhood and later in life they become aunts and uncles to each other's children and their family regenerates after a generation. that's our goal. we have a community of families broken by tragedy. >> the tragedy of haiti's aids epidemic brought big change for the organization and him himself. hiv was bringing in very ill children that the orphanages were ill-he equipped to care for. >> that really engraved itself hard on my memory. seeing such terrible things and not having a clue, not having a clue as to what to do. >> he received permission from his order to go to medical school, a multi-year commitment
8:36 am
which he completed in his mid-40s. back in haiti his newly acquired expertise combined with astute fund-raising resulted in a modern pediatric hospital. it expanded with the new building in 2006, the largest of its kind in the country with a 22-bed center for neonatology. >> this is a luxury for haiti. >> this doctor is the medical director. >> we have oxygen. we can offer external ventilation. >> on any given day you have 22 kids in here who would not have lived? >> correct. half of them. >> many of these premature births result from conditions like hypertension or diabetes in the mothers. for them a maternity unit was added in 2010 after the
8:37 am
capital's major hospital for high-risk pregnancies was destroyed. >> fortunately, 2010 we were not really damaged by the earthquake. a few cracks only. >> the quake did not damage this hospital, but it quickly overwhelmed it. >> it was conforming into a trauma center. we had patients everywhere. >> in a few weeks she says the decision was made to use donations that were pouring in to start a new adult hospital. ten months later, a cholera ward had to be added after the deadly outbreak that killed nearly 5,000 people in its first year. >> so we kind of mushroomed out in response to all of these problems. i think the surprise to everybody including to us is that we could do it all pretty much without batting an eliye lash, and the real wonder of it, this is a country of no
8:38 am
infrastructures practically and it's a country of failed ngos. >> he says three years after the quake, despite billions of dollars given to thousands of ngos, nongovernment organizations, the xdrebuilding has been painfully slow. >> there's too much disjointedness. it's goodwill, and it should be recognized fully as that and appreciated. it doesn't get channeled in a way that makes sense, and, in fact, it's a way that gets -- it's disruptive. >> many smaller ngo often church-based have come and gone as funding ail loud. bureaucracy has slowed it as they found clean water and sanitation. some 360,000 earthquake victims remain displaced in tent camps. for its part his organization took in $9 million in earthquake-related donations. its approach now is focused on
8:39 am
communities. >> organizations come in with their own ideas and do things their own way. the way father rick works is we don't come into a community and give our idea of what to do and how to do it. we listen to the community. we listen to their needs because they know them the best, and we work together to accomplish it. >> in this sprawling slum they rebuild homes to replace the sea of shacks and squalor. their simple two-room structure built on the principle if you wait to do things right, nothing will he get done for years, prolonging the suffering. >> the way we look at it and explain it to our dondonors, we investing in the purchase of time. we make most of the blocks ourselves. they're simple and aluminum. it's more towards normal than anything they have known. we're just buying time while the
8:40 am
people with big money and big plans and interwoven networks of organizations can do a proper urban development. that's what we're doing. >> they're also doing health care here, a new facility is being built. all told about 1800 haitians work for the mission. hundreds of thousands have been served in orphanages, schools and hospitals. funding comes from private individuals, found dations and government grants. this year he got the $1 million opus prize by the minnesota-based opus foundation. he does not see his work in charitable or heroic terms. >> rather than saying i gave you this chance, i say, i was fortunate. i had that chance. it came to me. i didn't make it. we want that same chance to come to you so that we have the same chance. we're people who care by being
8:41 am
the bridge between resources that have benefitted us in our life for our education and well-being, and we just want to be the bridge for letting that happen. that's by people who have their own capacity and dreams. >> a long road he admits where success is built one small stretch at a time. for religion and ethnics newsweekly, this is sam lazaro in hate hety. . we talked this week to one of the most prominent leaders of the evangelical christian right. he's richard land, president of the southern baptist convention's ethics and religious liberty commission. land plans to retire from the commission next october after 25 years as an outspoken leader in the culture wars. many observers have seen in recent polls and in last month's election returns evidence of a
8:42 am
decline in the influence of evangelical conservatives. a setback for the causes land has led. he concedes no such thing. >> i think it's not a fair reading. for instance, on the pro-life issue, a majority of americans now say that they are pro-life. >> iñr thought that legal abortn in almost all cases is favored? >> the question about whether it should be legal in most cases is a different question, and the percentage who would make it illegal in most cases is actually going up. when you begin to peel "the onion," you reason the majority say it's pro-life is for the last 39 years pro-lyf people have been having their babies and pro-choice people have not been have been babies with near as much frequency. so there's a huge shift. the younger you are, the more likely you are to be pro-life. >> what about the votes in
8:43 am
support of gay marriage, which land opposed vigorously? was that a setback for him? >> these four state elections where the same-sex marriage folks won are four of the most liberal states in the country. they won with a high of 52% of the vote having outspent their opposition 9-1. we still have won 33 elections and they've won 4 now. i think the country is still deeply divided on the issue of same-sex marriage. >> i asked land whether he was concerned about poll data such as we reported on the program that show almost 20% of the country say they have no religious affiliation at all. >> that implies they don't have any religion, and most of them do. what you've got is a disaffection with organized faith. i can understand reasons for that. i've had reasons for being
8:44 am
tempted to be disillusioned with organized faith myself. >> land has called the culture wars a titanic struggle for the nation's soul. >> it's still a titanic struggle. i think both sides are winning in different places. we have a gigantic rift running through our culture. it's a rift that doesn't run between denominations and between institutions. it runs through them. it makes less difference whether you're a catholic or baptist than whether you believe in traditional values or morality or whether you're a post-modernist. you had the same america you had in 1972 when 75% of americans leave in homes where they're married. romney would have won in a landslide he. only 48% of americans are
8:45 am
married and living in homes. when 53% of our babies that are now born to women under 30 are born out of wedlock, we're in deep trouble. >> for land the antidote to social problems is the return to religion. >> spiritual revival. i do not see us, the traditional values folks, winning this struggle without a spiritual revival that ripens into an awakening and culminating into a rep mags. the single greatest advantage, bob, that an american can have today and trumps all others is is to be born into a home with a mother and a father who stay married to each other. if you're born into such a home, it trumps religion. it trumps ethnicity. it trumps economic rank. it trumps iq. it trumps everything. yet, over half of our children
8:46 am
have lost that home by the time they're 7. as far as i'm concerned, that's collective societal child abuse. >> land was very close to president george w. bush, and he publicly endorsed mitt romney. he is scathing about president obama as he indicated when i asked him whether he thinks republicans and democrats can find a compromise to avoid going over the fiscal cliff. >> it's there, but the president has to want it. i don't think he wants it. i don't think the democratic leadership wants it. i think they've come to the conclusion that it's to their political advantage to let us go over the cliff. >> you really think that the president of the united states wants to do damage to the country? >> no, i don't think he thinks it will. i think he's wrong, but i don't think he thinks it will. for all of his brilliance, this man has never mastered economics
8:47 am
101. >> before we finished i wanted to ask land about christian evangelis? >> do they have an obligation to try to evangelislize muslims. >> just like jews and mormons and anyone outside the faith. mormonism is at the very least another religion. it's not the christian faith. >> what do you say to a muslim or a jew or anybody else who says, well, christianity is okay for you. that's fine. but for you to try to tell me that i must convert is to disrespect my religion. >> well, if the price of respecting your religion is to disrespect mine, the price is too high. >> you would comfortable telling mitt romney that you think his is not -- that he's not a christian? >> sure. that would be my duty as a
8:48 am
christian. >> land says he's retiring from his position at the spc next year, but not from the culture wars. he says of the social issues, i'll probably continue to talk about them. in other news celebrated musician dave brubeck died wednesday. he was 91 years old, a day short of 92. in 2009 brubeck spoke about his religious influences with bob fall for religion and ethics ne newsweekly. known as a jazz musician, he composed several pieces of music that dealt with religious themes including a catholic mass he wrote in 1979. >> when i write a piece, a sacred piece, i'm looking hard and trying to discover what i'm about and what my parents were about and the world's about. >> you think religious music can
8:49 am
change people? >> yeah, sure.ñi >> the vatican provided more information this week on pope benedict xvi's new twitter act. benedict will have the user news @pontfx. he'll sweet in eight languages although not latin for now. his initial tweets will be answers to questions people tweeted him, and even he has to observe the 140-character limit he. one day after the announcement, the pope already had a half a million twitter followers. that's respectable but nowhere near pop star lady gaga, who has the most followers on twitter, nearly 32 million.
8:50 am
benedict will send out his first tweets on december 12th, which is the feast day of our laid of guadalupe. that honors a vision of the virgin mary reported near mexico city in the year 1531. thousands of catholics travel each year to the basilica built there in her name. also on our calendar this weekend, catholics observe the feast of the immaculate conception when they celebrate the belief that mary, the mother of jesus, was proceed served from the taint of original sin all of her life. buddhists mark bodhe day when they believe he attained enlightenment and reached a state of nirvana. according to tradition he did so sitting under the tree. finally, hanukkah begins this weekend when jews light their hanukkah lamps. the holiday recalls the victory of the soldiers over the asyriai
8:51 am
greek king. we speak with suzanne bronstein, curator of the jewish museum in new york about the collection of hanukkah lamps, the largest in the world. >> the rabbis associated a miracle with the holiday. that when the ancient soldiers came to rededicate the temple in jerusalem and they lit the menorah in the temple, they only have one thing of oil to burn for one day, burn it burned for eight. that's why we call it the festival of life and why we light the hanukkah lamps. the rabbi going back to earlier felt that the lights of hanukkah lamp were sacred. the rabbis did specify a list of materials preferable to use for the hanukkah lamps, gold and silver, of course, being the best if that. most people couldn't. if you were poor and you couldn't afford a permanent
8:52 am
hanukkah lamp, you could use an eggshell or nut shell or potato carved out. the lamps used at home were actually using oil, and then over time in the 19th century and into the 20th century candles were more popular for home use. it's messy to use oil. we tried it. the rabbis in ancient times didn't say much about the shape of the lamp or its decoration. over time the decoration on the back plates or the shafts and arms of lamps became amazingly elaborate and inventive and fun because there were no restrictions. many of them actually reflect the places where jews were living. in our collection, for example, we have a lamp that was made in australia, and it has kangaroos and emus on it. we have one made in the united states with the statue of liberty on it. some of the lamps are actually in the shape of houses or synagogues. wherever jews went they always
8:53 am
paid homage to the ruler where they lived knowing their fate was on in the hands of the ruler. a common symbol we find on lamps that used from poland are the double-headed eagle of the austrian empire. the lamps from islamic lands generally don't represent human figures in objects or religious use. so many of the lamps are in architectural form. they have the pointed arches or the horseshoe-shaped arches that are so common in architecture. lamps from the indian jewish community come from three different communities located in the different parts of india. we have one in the shape of a jewish star. i think that has to do with zionistic aspirations of the community. we have in the collection a charming lamp made just about the time israel gained independence in 1948 of an israeli soldier holding a banner with the israeli flag and across
8:54 am
the top of the banner are the places to put the lights. one of my favorite lamps is a lamp that's in the shape of the tree of knowledge that stood in the garden of eden written about in the bible, and crawling up its trunk is a snake, the one that tempted eve to eat the apple. i just love the idea that one would equate the hanukkah lamp with a tree and with one that was in the biblicalñi story. it's very folkishly rendered, so it has a special place in my heart. i really just enjoy lighting my lamp and just seeing those candles glowing and thinking about my fellow jews all over the world lighting the lamp along with me. that's our program for now. i'm bob abernathy. follow us on twitter and facebook and watch us anytime on the pbs app for iphones and
8:55 am
ipads. there's always much more on our website as well. you can comment on the stories and share tbe audio and video podcasts are also available. join us at as we leave you, music and scenes from the lighting of the national christmas tree in washington.
8:56 am
8:57 am
8:58 am
8:59 am
- bob scully's world show is brought to you by smi-enerpro: the solution in energy optimization. and by klox technologies. lighting the way to a brighter future. ♪